Cristich crosses Cox in a big way – and pays the price

Well, we didn’t have to wait long for the other shoe to drop. Earlier today about the questionable use of U.S. Representative Chris Cox’ name, signature and picture on a campaign mailer touting businesswoman Cristi Cristich, and now a press release has been issued condeming the mailer as “misleading.” Don Wagner, one of several Republican candidates vying against Cristich, called for Cristich to withdraw from the race. Here is the Cox release:


U.S. Rep. Chris Cox Decries Deceptive Campaign Mail, Phony ‘Endorsement’ in 70th Assembly Primary

WASHINGTON, DC February 6, 2004: U.S. Representative Christopher Cox today condemned a “completely misleading” mailer that purported to have him urging Orange County Republican voters to support candidate Cristi Cristich in the upcoming March primary.

The mailer was labeled an “Important Message” from Rep. Cox, and featured a large picture of him and his name in oversized type on the cover.

It claimed that Rep. Cox, Orange County’s senior Republican elected official and the fifth-highest ranking Republican Leader in the U.S. House of Representatives, “knows Republican Leadership” and urged recipients to join “in supporting Cristi Cristich for Assembly!”

Rep. Cox stated today: “I am deeply disappointed that the Cristich campaign has intentionally misled the voters in the 70th Assembly District by resorting to unethical and deceptive tactics. She has taken a letter plainly stating I would not endorse her, and turned it into its opposite. She then signed my name to it. It is pure counterfeit.”

Also today, legal counsel for the Cox Congressional Committee wrote to Cristich and called upon her to mail to the voters the unaltered text of the Committee’s letter setting the record straight. The following is the text of that letter to the Cristich campaign:

February 6, 2004

Ms. Cristi Cristich

3723 Birch Street, #10A

Newport Beach, CA 92660-2672

Dear Ms. Cristich:

As Chairman and legal counsel to the Christopher Cox Congressional Committee, and on behalf of the Congressman, I write to condemn in the strongest terms the intentionally deceptive mailer that you have sent to the voters in the 70th Assembly District, and the unethical tactics it represents. Rep. Cox first learned about the mailer when scores of his constituents began calling his office, asking (and several complaining) about a mailer that “he sent” to them “endorsing Cristi Cristich.”

You know the truth. On January 5, at the request of one of your supporters and a mutual friend, Rep. Cox wrote a “neutrality” letter to you, stating plainly that he would not endorse you or any other candidate in the March 2004 Republican primary election. Rep. Cox sent the identical letter, word for word, to the other leading Republican candidate, Chuck Devore, with whom you are competing for the nomination.

It is from that letter that you have indefensibly cut and pasted selected phrases to fashion a counterfeit “letter” to you from Rep. Cox that conveys exactly the opposite impression.

Moreover, you have spent tens of thousands of dollars to mail this deception to 100,000 unsuspecting people — your voters, and Rep. Cox’s constituents.

Finally, to add insult to injury, you made it appear that your campaign message came from Rep. Cox. The mail piece is headlined “An Important Message” from “Congressman Christopher Cox,” and has only his photo on the cover.

The mailer quoted from the first sentence of his letter the words “I look forward to working with you as a State Legislator” but deliberately cut out the words immediately following: “if you are successful in March.”

It completely eliminated the main point of his letter to you, that “I have for 16 years followed a tradition of not endorsing candidates for the legislature in contested Republican primaries.”

This lack of honest dealing is only compounded by your knowledge that Rep. Cox would never have approved of your message. Undoubtedly this is why you sent it without even the courtesy of asking his permission.

The voters have a right to know the truth. Having so misrepresented yourself, and Rep. Cox, to the voters, it is now incumbent upon you to repair the damage. On behalf of the Committee, this letter serves as formal demand that you spend the same amount of money to mail this letter, complete and unedited, to Rep. Cox’s constituents and your voters. If you take this action within 3 days the Committee will waive all legal claims against you and your campaign.


Robert J. Sutcliffe


About Art Pedroza